in association with Oxford University Press


Based on the extensive rare book holdings of the Arcadian Library, this critically acclaimed series of academic studies is the work of leading international experts in the history of relations between Europe and the Levant and of the mutual influences between these two neighbouring cultures.

In addition to enjoying a reputation for world-class scholarship, Arcadian places a strong emphasis on the highest quality of award-winning design and printing.

The series general editor, Alastair Hamilton, is widely admired for his own scholarship in this field and holds the Arcadian Visiting Research Professorship at the University of London’s School of Advanced Study, Warburg Institute.

Behind the Arcadian Library’s publishing programme lies the desire to see its unique collection of antiquarian books play a significant role in an enlightened quest for understanding and dialogue between East and West.

Arcadian believes that by looking back at our past and by acknowledging the varied and enriching nature of the myriad cultural exchanges that have linked Christian Europe with the Islamic world, these beautiful and informed publications can offer the reader an alternative to the clichés that so often dominate modern political conflict.

André du Ryer and Oriental Studies in Seventeenth-Century France

No. 1. André du Ryer and Oriental Studies in Seventeenth-Century France

by Alastair Hamilton and Francis Richard, 2004
The first full-length study in English of a pioneering diplomat and linguist who published a Turkish grammar, a translation of the Persian Gulistan, and the first translation of the full text of the Qur’an to be published in any European language.
Click on the book for further information.   PURCHASE BOOK

The True Description of Cairo

No. 2. The True Description of Cairo: A Sixteenth-Century Venetian View

by Nicholas Warner, 3 volumes, 2006
In 1549 the Venetian printmaker Matteo Pagano produced a magnificent large-scale aerial map of Cairo together with a description of the city attributed to Guillaume Postel. The map was so detailed and accurate that it became the standard map of the city for 250 years. Architect Nicholas Warner presents a facsimile, translation and commentary on Postel’s text, and in a slipcase in volume 3, a folded reproduction of the complete map at its original size.
Click on the book for further information.   PURCHASE BOOK

Ibn Baklarish’s Book of Simples

No. 3. Ibn Baklarish’s Book of Simples: Medical Remedies between Three Faiths in Twelfth-Century Spain

edited by Charles Burnett, 2008
The Arcadian Library has acquired the oldest surviving manuscript copy of the selection of medical remedies (simples) compiled in tabular form by the Arabic-speaking Jewish physician Ibn Baklarish in the late eleventh century. This volume presents eight essays by a team of international scholars analysing the textual tradition, language and cultural significance of this important text, which gives us a snapshot of the cultural dialogue that occurred in medieval Spain between Muslims, Jews and Christians.
Click on the book for further information.   PURCHASE BOOK

Scientific Expeditions to the Arab World

No. 4. Scientific Expeditions to the Arab World, 1761–1881

by J.M.I. Klaver, 2009
This book discusses the four major government-sponsored expeditions (Danish, French, Prussian and British) which set out to collect scientific data in various parts of the Arab world between 1761 and 1881. As well as analysing the substantial scientific achievements of these expeditions, the author uses unpublished diaries and letters to tell a remarkable story of courage, disaster and incredible hardship endured in the pursuit of new discoveries.
Click on the book for further information.   PURCHASE BOOK

An Arabian Utopia

No. 5. An Arabian Utopia: The Western Discovery of Oman

by Alastair Hamilton, 2010
Known and described by classical authors in Antiquity, Oman was rediscovered from the fifteenth century onwards by European traders and adventurers making use of its strategic location on the south-east tip of the Arabian peninsula. Alastair Hamilton brings together for the first time in a single narrative the story of the knowledge gradually accumulated by explorers, missionaries, diplomats, artists, geologists, naturalists and scholars, and reveals that, remarkably, the interior of Oman was not fully explored until well into the twentieth century.
Click on the book for further information.   PURCHASE BOOK

Aleppo Observed

No. 6. Aleppo Observed: Ottoman Syria through the Eyes of Two Scottish Doctors, Alexander and Patrick Russell

by Maurits H. van den Boogert, 2010
In 1740 Alexander Russell became physician to the Levant Company in the Ottoman provincial capital of Aleppo. On his return to Britain in 1756 he published The Natural History of Aleppo which immediately won praise for its intelligence, objectivity and fair-mindedness. In 1753 his younger half-brother took over the post, remaining in Aleppo for twenty years and publishing a much-expanded second edition of the Natural History in 1794. Maurits van den Boogert provides the first extended biography of the two brothers and a critical assessment of their work which vindicates their high reputation as naturalists and as reliable and sympathetic observers of Ottoman society.
Click on the book for further information.   PURCHASE BOOK

Visions of the Jinn

No. 7. Visions of the Jinn: Illustrators of the Arabian Nights

by Robert Irwin, 2010
First published in the West in a French version of 1706, The Arabian Nights became phenomenally popular throughout Europe, at first as a work for adults, and later for children. It quickly attracted illustrators, and Robert Irwin presents in this volume a selection of the finest and most interesting versions from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. These illustrations are a hitherto neglected area in the study of European Orientalism, and this book is both a contribution to the history of European taste and technique in the production of illustrated books, and a study of an important strand of visual fantasy linked to the visual discovery of the Middle East today.
Click on the book for further information.   PURCHASE BOOK

The Arcadian Library

No. 8. The Arcadian Library

by Alastair Hamilton, 2011
This richly illustrated survey summarizes the variety of books, documents and images which the library holds in different domains. Spanning the six main subject areas of the library—travel, Turcica, science and medicine, religion, Islamic Spain, and oriental scholarship and literature—the lively narrative maps out the history of Europe’s relationship with the Levant. Some 300 illustrations of the finest and rarest items in the library, including four eight-page fold-outs, complement the text, while the bibliography, running to over 1500 entries, gives an overview of many of the most important and interesting items in the library.
Click on the book for further information.   PURCHASE BOOK

The Arcadian Library

No. 9. The Arcadian Library: Bindings and Provenance

Edited by Giles Mandelbrote and Willem de Bruijn, 2014
This collection of essays by experts in their field examines significant aspects of the Arcadian Library’s holdings with regard to the history of book-collecting and the ownership and use of books, and the history of bookbinding. Contributing to this volume are Giles Mandelbrote, Alastair Hamilton, Philippa Marks, Anthony Hobson, John-Paul Ghobrial, Nicholas Pickwoad and Willem de Bruijn. Through careful research and attention to detail, they give a broad and varied overview of the diverse bindings and provenances that can be found in the Arcadian Library. The book, again richly illustrated, is the companion to No. 8 in the series, Alastair Hamilton’s The Arcadian Library: Western Appreciation of Arab and Islamic Civilization.
Click on the book for further information.   PURCHASE BOOK

Western Women Travelling East, 1716-1916

No. 10. Western Women Travelling East, 1716-1916

By Penelope Tuson, 2014
Drawing almost exclusively on sources in the collection of the Arcadian Library, this book discusses the style and content of women’s writing about the East and the Arab World in particular. Through close examination of published and unpublished texts as well as art works by Western women travelling East in the period between 1716 and 1916, this volume shows how women travellers were often more able than male travellers to observe and appreciate cultural difference as well as record their impressions with enthusiasm and genuine understanding.
Click on the book for further information.   PURCHASE BOOK


Publications relating to exhibitions of rare books from the holdings of the Arcadian Library include:

Europe and the Arab World

Europe and the Arab World: Five Centuries of Books by European Scholars and Travellers from the Libraries of the Arcadian Group

by Alastair Hamilton, 1994
Published in conjunction with an exhibition of books from the Arcadian Library first held at the Musée de l’Institut du Monde Arabe in 1993–4, this volume presents an evocative record of the relationship between Europe and the Arab world. The seventy five works described, which include some exceptionally rare and important items, cover a wide range of subjects from the history of the Crusades to travel writing, the study of the Qur’an, scientific discovery and popular literature. Alastair Hamilton’s lively and sympathetic text provides an enlightening survey of the prejudices and fascination which have coloured the attitudes of Europeans to their Muslim neighbours.

Arab Culture and Ottoman Magnificence

Arab Culture and Ottoman Magnificence in Antwerp’s Golden Age

by Alastair Hamilton, 2001
Published to accompany an exhibition at the Museum Plantin-Moretus in Antwerp held in 2002, this volume celebrates Antwerp’s pre-eminence in sixteenth-century Europe as a centre for the production of images about the Ottoman and Arab worlds. Fine, engraved images of the Ottoman Turkish court, splendid atlases, popular editions of travellers’ tales, major works of orientalist scholarship—all are represented in Alastair Hamilton’s profusely illustrated account of Antwerp’s place in the European drive to define and comprehend its eastern neighbours.